Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Flood Warning and a Garland of Ashes: Chasing a Feeling over the Holidays

A few days before Christmas, I found myself singing the finale from Les Miserables at Marie’s Crisis, the Broadway sing along piano bar on 59 Grove Street.   

Do you hear the people sing
Lost in the valley of the night
It is the music of a people
Who are climbing to the light
For the wretched of the earth
There is a flame that never dies
Even the darkest night will end
And the sun will rise.
They will live again in freedom

Singing along with a few hundred show queens and Broadway geeks, a woman passed me a  “RESIST” pin.  I thanked her.  That’s what the year was about, resisting and singing as loud as I could.

We followed with a medley from A Chorus Line, one freedom anthem after another, the crowd sang along.

It had been that kind of a week, to an from DC fighting the new guilded age, arrests on Wall Street, and a quiet meditation at Judson Church on Sunday.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving through you, a joy,”

“Sorrow prepares you for joy.  It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter.   IT shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart. So that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place.  It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new  roots hidden beneath have room to grow.  Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take place,” Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi.

Andy lead the kids for kids day.

Micah Bucey preached about mudita Bhuddism and Isaiah 61:1-4.

“They shall build up the ancient ruins,
            They shall raise up the former devastations;
They shall repair the ruined cities,
            The devastations of many generations.”

Micah referred to a Buddhism that finds joy in other people.  Mudita is an unselfish way of looking at the world. This deep unselfish joy is a great pocket of resistance preached Rev Bucey, in his sermon “A Garland of Ashes.  Imagine if we said to each other, I wish you joy.  How might it keep us moving and growing, resisting and creating community?

What a way of looking at people and the world.

Mom joined us for church, watching the kids sing, members of the congregation greeting her.  Afterward, the kids and I went to the Met with her to see the Michelangelo show.  Its my favorite place in New York, a space that always keeps me growing, remembering the past, striving forward, even in the treachery of the present moment.

Looking at his sketches, it felt like I was greeting an old friend.

You could certain feel Rumi’s river moving through them.

I could feel it listening to Laura Newman sing the blues a few days later at Pianos on Ludlow.
She asked for an improv theme for the show.

“Taxes!” one woman screamed.
“Greed” another followed.

We danced the blues of the moment.

The city was alive with bodies moving as she performed, filling the stage. Something moved deep in all of us there.

As the year ends, I hope we can all feel that feeling.

I wish you all some of that feeling.

James joined us a few days later after I completed my grading and we hit the road for State College Pa, New Jersey for the Holidays, and up to Garrison chasing that feeling, careening through the country. 

Holidays in Princeton and on the road. 

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